Users will be able to see recommended WhatsApp Channels based on region and popularity.
Mark Zuckerberg has announced that they have begun rolling out WhatsApp Channels globally. WhatsApp users in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be able to gain access to a new feature on the platform known as “Channels.” This addition offers a one-way broadcast service, enabling users to receive messages from their favourite celebrities, sports teams, thought leaders, content creators, and organisations.
Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, made an official announcement via a blog post, revealing that they initially introduced Channels back in June, exclusively in Colombia and Singapore. This initial launch allowed them to fine-tune the feature and adapt it based on user feedback. Now, they are preparing to roll out Channels to more than 150 countries worldwide.
The feature will give admins the ability to send text, photos, videos, stickers and polls. This content will be accessible under a dedicated “Updates” tab, which is separate from regular WhatsApp chats.
Moon Baz, Meta’s creator partnerships lead for Africa, the Middle East and Turkiye, said: “WhatsApp Channels aspires to be the most private broadcast service available, helping users receive updates from the organizations and people that are important to them in a reliable, safe and private way.”
To safeguard user privacy, the phone numbers of both admins and followers will remain hidden within a channel. Administrators also have the option to block screenshots and message forwarding from their channel, define who can follow their channel, and choose whether to make it discoverable in the directory.
It’s important to note that admins will not be able to add followers to their channel, ensuring a user-centric experience. Additionally, Meta will store channel history on their servers for up to 30 days.
Users will have access to recommended WhatsApp Channels based on their region and popularity. Similar to WhatsApp chat, they can also express their reactions to channel messages using emojis. Meta plans to continually enhance Channels and introduce more features based on user feedback.
Several regional businesses, government entities, media outlets, and creators have already embraced the Channels feature. Notable names like Olivia Rodrigo, David Guetta, Billboard, Major League Baseball, and Netflix have already established their channels.
The WhatsApp Channels feature is set to go live in Saudi Arabia and the UAE this week, with a gradual rollout to all users in both countries over the coming days.